May 16, 2008

Steak Anyone?

I am often amazed and even bewildered about the attitude some churches have taken about the definition of sin. In an age of easy-believisim, where Calvinism has so destroyed or damaged the biblical understanding of sin, we see its lasting impact on the church of today. Calvinist theology has led us to a misguided understanding that sin is no longer a moral freewill choice, but is rather a necessity of God’s providence. Sin is no longer our fault, but rather that of Adam’s or one’s parents. Sin is no longer rebellion against God's goodness, but is just a part of our DNA or physicality.

Ultimately, these ideas of theology and understanding do have consequences. One example in my own life is several years ago I once had a local minister tell me that she sinned everyday in word thought and deed. According to her, everyday she would literally get up and commit acts of sin. This was because she had bought into the myth that sin was somehow imputed to her through her parents, as a direct result of their "Sin Nature". Therefore, she had relegated herself to believing she could not help but to sin everyday of her life. Instead of realizing that sin was a moral choice, her theology had equated that sin was something physical and not moral. Sadly, this concept of sin had so infiltrated her thinking that she had accepted it as truth. I still to this day wonder how many more people she has influenced with this misconception of sin. Again, ideas do have consequences!

I am so grieved by how often I hear pastors say that man is unable to change their hearts from sinfulness to benevolence. But what then did our Savior mean by when he stated “The Truth Shall set you Free”. Clearly the “Truth” has an impact on a persons desire to stop sinning. Knowledge as we discover is one of the most powerful tools God uses to change men’s hearts and ultimately stop them from being rebellious sinners.

It seems in this day and age, churches are more apt to believing some 1,500 year old Augustinian myth than simply reading the scriptures and applying a little bit of common sense or reasoning. Today, the church has seemingly replaced common sense and sound biblical interpretation for that of bad theology and non-sense. How often does one read a churches Statement of Faith to see the definition of sin as a result of mans "fallen" or "Sin Nature", rather than simply describing what sin really is and that is a moral choice to willfully disobey that which is known to be right or good.

One of the most powerful analogies of this very topic is from my good friend Scott Taylor. Scott presents a wonderful analogy of the power of God’s truth and how it can impact a persons desire to stop sinning:

Let say one afternoon you’re very hungry and you’ve decide that your craving a great big juicy steak. As a matter of fact, your hunger is starting to get the best of you and you’re famished. All day long you have thought about sinking your teeth into a nice juicy New York Strip! So you decide that you and your family are going to go uptown for an evening out at a local steak house.

As you arrive, you’re immediately seated at a nice table and the waiter comes over and takes your order. There is no need to even look at the menu as you know what you desire – a NY Strip prepared Medium Rare! A few minutes go by and out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of what appears to be the chef taking several steaks to the men’s restroom. At first you can’t believe what you’re seeing but as you inspect closer it is indeed the head chef taking several succulent steaks on a large metal tray to the men’s restroom. Immediately, you motion for the waiter to come to your table as you inquire as to what you have just witnessed. The waiter responds that he has no idea what you’re talking about and assures you that everything is alright. However, your interest is peaked by this time and you head straight to the men’s restroom to investigate further.

Upon entering the restroom you see the head chef taking a steak and wiping it on the inside of one of the toilets. He takes all four steaks one at a time and uses them as he would a toilet bowel brush! When you inquire as to what he is he doing with those steaks, he simply responds that he is preparing them for your table! You're astounded that a reputable restuarant would do such a thing! Now the question that bears asking is would you continue to eat at this establishment or would you sit down and enjoy the steak dinner you have been hungering for all day?

Sin is much like this analogy. Yes, on one hand our flesh deeply desires to taste and eat that succulent steak. As a matter of fact we have hungered and yearned for it for several days and finally we have the opportunity to fulfill our hunger pains. However, we now have KNOWLEDGE of the truth of how this steak was being prepared. One simply must make an intelligent decision here: Do I simply ignore the filth that has been placed upon my steak and fulfill my bodily desires or do I accept and act upon my recent new found knowledge that by eating this steak I could be causing some serious intestinal damage and end up harming myself and possibly others!?

If we listen to how the church is defining sin these days, it simply says that our desires out weigh the power of God’s Truth and that ultimately we end up having to eat the filthy steak from time to time! Regardless of how hard we try, the toilet bowel ridden steak will end up getting you in the end (no pun intended here!). Sin is a choice! The question we must be willing to ask ourselves is just how hungry are you? Are you willing to eat just a little bit of the steak? Are you seeking to find a part of the steak that was contaminated and to cut around it? Or would you rather override the desires of your flesh with the knowledge of the Truth and having nothing to do with the steak! Truth my friends is a powerful thing if we heed its call!

God desires that we live a life that is free of the filth and contamination of sin! Sin is a choice. As Matthew 6 states:

Mat 6:24-25 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (25) Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment?

Clearly, God is more concerned about our souls than our temporal bodies. So if eating a contaminated steak is cause for concern, is not then sin an even bigger concern? I hope that from this simple analogy I have shown that knowledge of God’s Truth is certainly a powerful motivator (if not the best motivator of all!). If one allows God’s Truth to transform their hearts and minds, then one can overcome sin and live in submission to our God in Heaven!